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Driving Instructor Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Driving Instructor. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Driving Instructor
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Driving Instructor Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

A driving instructors job is to teach people to drive safely and to prepare them for their test.

The instructor introduces the pupil to the controls and the basics of driving, but the rest of the lessons are usually held on the road with the learner driving the car and carrying out manoeuvres. Before the lesson, the instructor plans a route. During the lesson, they monitor the learner, the road and other vehicles very carefully. The car will have dual controls so that the instructor can stop if necessary.

They teach general road craft, including knowledge of the Highway Code. When the pupil is ready for the test, they apply for a driving test date.

The driving test has recently changed to allow more time for general driving to be assessed. Pupil log-books have also been introduced and there may also be a new badging system for instructors based on their pass rate.

Instructors who are self-employed are responsible for keeping their own paperwork.

Specialist Instruction:

Some instructors may specialise in particular area of driving instruction. This could be advanced or high-performance driving, tuition for passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) or large goods vehicle (LGV) driving. They might also be asked to assess newly recruited drivers before a company takes them on.

Hours and Environment:

Working hours depend on when pupils want lessons - and that can often be at weekends and in the evenings. Part-time work is possible.

Most of the instructors time is spent in the car, driving to collect pupils and then sitting in the passenger seat during the lesson.

The nature of the work involves having to sit for long periods in a relatively small space. Cars may be hot and stuffy in the summer.

Skills and Interests:

To be a driving instructor you should:

  • have excellent driving skills and enthusiasm for driving
  • be able to give directions and tuition clearly and concisely
  • be able to adapt your teaching style to suit all kinds of pupils such as nervous learners
  • have patience and good interpersonal skills
  • be able to stay calm and point out errors in a constructive way
  • have a sense of humour
  • be able to react quickly and safely to any problems
  • be able to assess when not to intervene and when to encourage the learner
  • have a basic knowledge of car mechanics for explaining the use of gears, steering and so on.


No formal academic qualifications are required to become a driving instructor, but you must be registered with the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) as an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) or licensed trainee for car instruction. The minimum age is 21.

To apply, you need:

  • to have held a full driving licence for at least four years
  • to be able to read a car number plate from a distance of 90 feet.
  • You should also have no motoring convictions (although very old offences may be disregarded) or criminal convictions. You will need to provide two referees and pass the register qualifying exams.
  • Driving or teaching experience can be an advantage. Many driving schools prefer applicants over the age of 25 because insurance premiums are lower.


Specialist Driving Instructors
Specialist instructors usually have professional qualifications. Some employers in road haulage and bus and coach services train their experienced drivers to become instructors either within the company or at a specialist training school.

A voluntary register of LGV instructors has been introduced by the DSA; a similar register for the Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) industry is run by TransFed (the National Training Organisation for the passenger transport industry).

Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) exams
ADI exams are in three parts: a written test, a practical test of driving ability, and a practical test of ability to teach. Each part has to be passed before the next can be taken and qualification must be within two years of completing the first part.

You can sit the ADI exams independently, but it is more likely that you will take training for which you would pay for yourself. The DSA sets minimum performance standards.

Courses are run by specialist training schools and by driving schools. Course length, content and teaching methods all vary, as do training costs, so check with individual training providers. The DSA holds a list of approved training providers: the Official Register of Driving Instructor Training (ORDIT).

Around 11,000 people apply to take the exams each year and only 30 per cent are successful in the final (part three) exam.

Trainee Licence:

If you pass the first two parts of the ADI exams, you can join the trainee licensing scheme, although this is not compulsory. The trainee licence is valid for six months and gives you the right to receive payment for driving instruction without being registered as an ADI. Trainees are usually employed by driving schools who must provide at least 40 hours' practical instruction delivered by a qualified ADI. During the first three months, trainees must be directly supervised while giving lessons for at least 20 per cent of the time.

Joining the ADI register:

After successfully passing all three parts of the register qualifying exams, you join the ADI register and are given an official certificate of registration which must be displayed on the car.

Registration has to be renewed every four years and ADI Registrars require you to undergo a test of continued ability and fitness to give instruction. Your name can be removed from the register if the required standards are not met.

Professional qualifications:

The Driving Instructors' Association (DIA) and the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) offer the Diploma in Driving Instruction. There are no formal entry requirements.

The DIA also offer the Advanced Instructor and Examiner qualification (DIAmond).

An NVQ/SVQ in Driving Instruction is available at Level 3.


Nearly all driving instructors are self-employed, but may start off by operating within a franchised driving school.

They may also work as a specialist instructor for a large commercial transport company or a bus and coach operator. The police, fire service, ambulance service and the armed forces employ their own driving instructors.

The main career progression is into self-employment, which means they need to own and maintain a dual-control car. Because there are no restrictions on how many instructors can operate within an area, competition can be intense.

There may be opportunities to become a senior instructor or a driving school manager and the DSA occasionally recruits experienced driving instructors as driving examiners.

Annual Income:

The annual income section is intended as a guideline only.

There are no set salary scales, as earnings depend on where instructors teach, how many pupils and on whether they work independently or for a driving school.

Income is based on the cost of the driving lesson, which can be from £10 to £20 an hour.Out of that amount, car maintenance and running costs have to be paid.

If instructors work through a franchise, they usually pay a weekly fee of up to £300, but will then have a car provided. They still have to buy petrol.

Further information:

Driving Standards Agency (DSA)
Stanley House
56 Talbot Street
Tel: 0115 901 2500

Association of Driving Instructors' Federation (ADI)
Kinsgsmith House
63a Marshalls Road
Tel: 01933 461 821

Driving Instructors' Association
Safety House
Beddington Farm Road
Tel: 020 8665 5151

Motor Schools Association of Great Britain
101 Wellington Road North

Regency House
43 High Street
Tel: 01923 896607

British Motorcycle Federation (Rider Training Scheme)
PO Box 2
East Sussex
TN22 3NE
Tel: 01825 7134 30

National Training Organisations (NTOs) ceased to be recognised by the government on 31 March 2002. However, some are continuing to operate in their respective fields. Please contact individual NTOs with queries regarding their current status.

The Secretary of State for Education and Skills is licensing new Sector Skills Councils - charged with boosting skills and productivity in business sectors. For information about Sector Skills Councils, their roles and responsibilities, please visit the Sector Skills Development Agency website:

Other Useful Driving Instructor Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Driving Instructor job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Driving Instructor Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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